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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 28, 2011 / 23 Shevat, 5771

Acer's very tempting, if quirky, all-in-one PC

By Mark Kellner



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | You may — or may not — be able to buy Acer's seemingly new desktop, all-in-one computer, the Acer Aspire Z5700-U3112. And when you do, you may or may not be happy with your choice.

This product, whose online price (at suppliers I'd never heard of) ranges from $1059.69 up to $1,263.55, is an interesting system, to say the very least.

We begin our sojourn with the all-in-one concept, where the "guts" of the computer, the display, optical drive, slots for flash memory cards, from which pictures and video can be imported, and other basics are all in one piece, hence the "AIO" designation, as they like to say in the trade.

Here, in its raw form, the Aspire Z5700 has a lot going for it. The display is a 23-inch touchscreen, which means you can make things happen with the touch of your finger. I can move individual windows around, initiate programs and do other things with more specialized, touch-sensitive applications.

The Aspire Z5700 is not the first, or only, Windows-based PC to offer this feature. Hewlett Packard has done this for quite some time, and, in these pages last July 6, I had nice things to say about a business-oriented HP touch-screen PC (see http://bit.ly/f59DoW). But the HPs can be a bit more expensive than other maker's boxes, and thus, the Aspire's price is attractive — about $200 less than a similarly equipped HP desktop (before HP's $200 online "instant rebate"). Besides, I've long opposed hegemony, and why should consumers have only one choice in this category?

So I was happy to see the Z5700 show up, and, overall, it works quite nicely. Running the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium, it happily took the chief applications — the OpenOffice.org productivity suite, Google's Chrome Web browser, the Mozilla Firefox e-mail program and Logos Bible Software — that I threw at it. The card reader slot handled my EyeFi SD photo card, and imported over 350 images quickly. I was able to connect to a HP wireless inkjet printer quickly and easily. And the wireless keyboard and mouse both performed well. Moreover, the unit boasts a 1-Terabyte hard disc drive, 4 Gbytes of RAM and way-more-than-adequate sound.

What's not to like? One aspect is the multimedia performance of the system, specifically the built-in TV tuner. That's the component which adds much of the $200 price difference between this model and a similar Z5700 that you can find at Amazon.com, WalMart/Sam's Club and many more retailers, all of which are well-known. That model ships without a TV tuner, costs around $860, and may be the better value.

My problem, TV-wise, was not so much with the Acer as it might have been with the Windows Media Center application. Here's how I tested the Aspire's TV feature: I connected an inexpensive pair of "rabbit ears," put the antenna near a window in my home office, fired up the Z5700, and let Windows Media Center find stations. It "found" a bunch of over-the-air channels, but could only tune in a handful, no more than seven or eight.

That didn't seem right, so I dug out a two-year-old Elgato EyeTV module, connected it to an Apple iMac that's also on my desk and, without moving the antenna, let the EyeTV software and the iMac do the rest. The result? A mind-blowing 24 stations, three times the number "found" on the Aspire. Moreover, the EyeTV found over-the-air outlets for all the major networks, where the Aspire didn't.

Acer didn't respond with an official comment to a reporter's inquiry, although it was suggested, unofficially, that the fault may lie with the way in which the Media Center software scans for over-the-air channels. Responding via e-mail, a Microsoft spokeswoman wrote, "all [things] being equal — same location, same antenna setup — and using a capable Windows 7 Media Center compatible ATSC TV tuner, the over-the-air channels that [you were able] to view and record should be the same. Nothing in the software would prevent this. It may be an issue of the antenna type/setup and location of the antenna."

"Whatevs," as is being said these days: Everything was equal, and I got an unequal result, with Elgato being the winner. A potential solution to this might be to buy the less-expensive Acer Aspire Z5700 model, spend $150 (or less) for a newer Elgato product, the EyeTV hybrid, grab some "rabbit ears" and go for it.

I make a point of this because of a quirky belief about consumers: if you pay for something, you should get what you pay for. The Acer Aspire Z5700-U3112 has much to commend itself in terms of utility, space utilization and features. But any computer worth its salt needs to hit all the promised delivery points; when and as Acer is able to do this, that kind of machine should be a huge seller, and deservedly so.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.

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